Summary: This sermon will help you to understand the distinctive doctrines that separate Mormons fron Christians and why Latter Day Saints are a cult.
Are Latter Day Saints Really Saints?
Officially known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith Jr. in 1830. Their headquarters is in Salt Lake City, Utah – a state that is now 70% Mormon. They claim to now have over 11 million members worldwide, almost half of whom live inside the United States.
They are represented by over 60,000 missionaries in 162 countries in 102 languages. Each of these missionaries have gone through 3-9 weeks of intensive training at the 26 acre Missionary Training Center located in Provo, Utah, which receives 500 new missionaries a week. All boys, once they turn 19 are expected to dedicate two years of their life to missionary service. Over $500 million a year is spent on recruiting which reaps more than 300,000 new converts every year. Many of these (75.3%) claim they were already members of a Christian church before joining Mormonism.
Mormons have more than 100 temples worldwide which are not used for worship. Temples are required for Mormon marriages and for proxy baptisms of ancestors. Only secret, occult rituals for the living and the dead are performed there for the purpose of gaining eternal life.
Unlike most churches, the LDS does not give out a financial statement, even to its own members. However, an April 4, 1997 Time Magazine article gave the following financial details:
“The church’s material triumphs rival even its evangelical advances. With unusual cooperation from the Latter-day Saints hierarchy (which provided some financial figures and a rare look at church businesses), TIME has been able to qualify the church’s extraordinary financial vibrancy. It’s current assets total a minimum of $30 billion. If it were a corporation, its estimated $5.9 billion in annual gross income would place it midway through the FORTUNE 500, a little below Union Carbide and the Paine Webber Group but bigger than Nike and the Gap.”
The LDS also collect at least another $6 billion a year in tithes and offerings from its members. At least 100 companies are controlled by the Mormons, and some estimate its total annual revenue is in excess of $20 billion! The LDS owns 18 radio stations in the U.S. as well as schools, seminaries, clothing mills, insurance companies, and department stores.
Mormons have two official publications, Church News, a weekly 16-page newspaper, and the Ensign, a monthly magazine. They have four books of Scripture: the Bible, the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.
• Their Beliefs Concerning The CHURCH
In The Pearl of Great Price, book 2, Extracts from the History of Joseph Smith, the Prophet verses 18-20 Smith states, “My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right that I might know which to join....I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt... He again forbade me to join any of them...”
On April 16, 1830, Joseph Smith and his two brothers, Hyrum and Samuel, along with Oliver Cowdery and David and Peter Whitmer Jr., officially founded “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” The phrase “of Latter-day Saints” was selected in order to single out Mormonism as a latter day restoration of the early church that Jesus organized. The LDS claim to be the “only true church” and the only church with the authority to act in God’s name. They do not accept any other church’s baptisms. According to their teachings, their baptism is the only one recognized by the Lord. Mormons do not claim to be Protestants or Catholic. They claim to be a divine restoration of Christ’s true church. And therefore, reject the validity of any other church. Mormons believe that the original gospel was contaminated by errors and lost from the earth. They teach there was an apostasy and the true church ceased to exist on earth and that this state of apostasy "still prevails except among those who have come to a knowledge of the restored gospel" of the Mormon Church (Gospel Principles, pp. 105-106; Mormon Doctrine, p. 44). . According to Bruce R. McConkie one of their past apostles (Mormon Doctrine, p. 635) Mormonism is the restoration of the true church in this latter day.
The Bible teaches and orthodox Christians through the ages have believed that the Church was divinely established by Jesus and could never and will never disappear from the earth. True Christians believe that the church will endure forever. That is because the church is indestructible. Christians acknowledge that there have been times of corruption and apostasy within the Church, but believe there has always been Christians who have held fast to the biblical essentials.